IT is not often that ordinary people who do their work in an extraordinary way get the recognition they deserve.
Today we feature the story of Sister Veronica van der Merwe, a nurse who has proudly served the Nelson Mandela Bay community for 47 years.
Hers is a story we no longer hear. For close to 50 years she has dedicated her time and her care to patients in several hospitals.
She says she simply sticks to the basics: respect, kindness and tolerance – and says the worst thing anybody can be is lazy.
Even at 65 the first thing her colleagues will tell you is that she can work harder than all of them. And she is not retiring yet – in fact her employer, Netcare Cuyler Clinic, has asked her to stay on part-time so that more nurses can benefit from her exceptional work ethic, organising skills, humour and humble, loving nature.
We can only hope that the young nurses of today will stop the nonsense fighting over the colour of uniforms, the amount of stipends and the nitty-gritty of working hours, and learn something from nurses like Van der Merwe who serve with so much humility and passion.
While we so often write about the bad and the ugly in the health system – and unfortunately there are a lot of these stories to tell – we want to honour the truly remarkable for a change.
So today we want to say thank you and bravo to nurses like Van der Merwe.
Her story is one we do not hear often – in fact it took some convincing to make her share the story of her remarkable career.
She is an absolutely shining ideal of how to choose your passion, make a commitment and stick to it – not for the money or the fame, but because serving people in need brings with it a greater reward than a monthly salary or a pension payout.
If we can encourage our children to aspire to be just a little more like her, as opposed to shallow and flashy celebrities, our world would definitely become a better place to live in.